Hinduism is the pre-dominant religion in Goa. Though the long years of Portugal have left the Christian influence on Goa, yet Goa has not forgotten its roots and maximum people follow Hinduism. Thus Hindu festivals in Goa are celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm. The best part is that all people celebrate all major festivals as Goans and not as Hindus, Muslims or Christians. The amazing amount of religious tolerance in them is truly commendable. Given here are some major Hindu festivals that are celebrated in Goa.
Considered as the most popular and widely celebrated Hindu festival in Goa, Ganesha Chaturthi is dedicated to the birthday of Lord Ganesha, the Elephant God in Hindu mythology. It is celebrated around the months of August - September in Goa and due to the influence of the nearby state of Maharashtra; it has gained much popularity and fame in Goa as well. Ganesha Chaturthi wins hands down as the most popular festival in Goa.
Holi is the famous festival of colors that is celebrated to mark the end of winters and the beginning of the spring season. It is celebrated with much joy in all parts of northern and central India. People irrespective of age, caste and religion come together and smear colored powder and drench each other with colored water.
The festival of Dusshera is another major Hindu festival that is celebrated in Goa. It is celebrated just before another popular festival known as Diwali. In the festival of Dusshera, huge dummies of the Demon King Ravana (of the Hindu epic Ramayana) and his two brothers are burnt all over the state, which marks the victory of Lord Rama over the demon king Ravana.
Diwali / Deepawali
Also known as the "festival of lights" Diwali is celebrated all over India and Goa with much enthusiasm and fervor. All homes are cleaned from top to bottom and are decorated with flowers and small earthen lamps around evening. Children burst firecrackers and burn effigies of the Demon king Ravana, known as Narakasur in Goa.
Janmashtami is a famous festival of the Hindus and is celebrated to mark the birthday of Lord Krishna. This festival usually comes around August - September according to the Hindu calendar. People visit temples to pray and decorate their houses beautifully with flowers. Young boys usually hang a small earthen pot that is filled with buttermilk known as "Dahi Handi" at a height of around 9 - 10 feet (sometimes higher). They then form a pyramid by standing on top of one another and attempt to break the pot while the people around cheer them and attempt to break their pyramid by pouring water.